Money Moves

Call centre moves into sales

By Yale Mak

This is a fortnightly series of articles focusing on the banking and financial industries

Having recently won a coveted award for the best use of call centre technology, one leading insurance company is now all set to take its burgeoning business to a whole new level. Macy Lim, manager, personal insurance, Dao Heng Insurance Co Ltd (DHI), a wholly-owned subsidiary company of Guoco Group says, "We have converted what was just a customer service hotline into an excellent new channel for sales. The functionality and volume of business is already more than we ever imagined." Despite this, she concedes that, "At the moment, we are still only utilising one tenth of the full potential."

Combining established call centre practices with the latest IT solutions, DHI's success serves as an example to other companies in both the insurance and telemarketing industries. "We saw that our call centres could be used to handle additional tasks provided staff were given the necessary technology and training," explains Ms Lim. "The latest plan is to launch a wider range of products and services while dealing with the stiff competition from other companies keen to follow our lead."

The innovative approach began when the group realised that many enquiries to the call centre represented great opportunities for follow-up sales or cross-selling. In 2003, a new customer relationship management (CRM) system was installed and things really took off. "We now have a better understanding of the profiles and preferences of all our customers," says Ms Lim. "CRM helps in storing and retrieving data and, when used effectively, the information available can build customer confidence and improve our levels of service."

While industry awards serve as public recognition of the company's success, what drives staff and management is the chance to implement a winning strategy and be a leader in the field. There is a belief that greater synergies can still be found and that the role of the call centre can be further expanded. "We have seen a marked increase in our sales performance so we know we are on the right track," Ms Lim says.

Taken from Career Times 17 September 2004, p. 2
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